Life as a Naked NFL Beat Reporter

Life as a Naked NFL Beat Reporter

By Nick Maglione


 

I’m a beat reporter for the New York Jets, following the team around the country covering their every move during the NFL season. I am also a member of the United Naturists Federation and the Magister Equitum on its Board of Governors. 

I get a lot of funny looks and snide comments on the job, but—puritanical social norms are damned—my junk needs to be free.

I grant that I’m an odd sight on the sideline or in the press box. The one place where my nudity doesn’t stand out too much is in the locker room after practices or games. 

I’m six foot five, two-twenty, but I ain’t no athlete. Sometimes my size and state of undress confuse the football people who’ve never met me.

 

“That’s the ugliest backup QB I’ve ever seen in my life.”

 

“I’m not a quarterback, son. I’m a journalist.”

 

I didn’t even play organized football when I was young (and still fully dressed), but I loved the sport. 

Watched every game, every pregame show, every highlight reel, and every PSA featuring some hulking guard giving back to the community. 

And watched it all with the fanatical attention of the devoted worshiper waiting for his avatar to utter the single word, which after a decades-long vow of silence, will enlighten the world...

 

“Naked.”

 

At least, that’s what my avatar would say.

The only boy I knew in elementary school who played for a real team was a total psycho. I pretty much extrapolated from him that I wouldn’t thrive in that environment. The kid was always trying to get me into some kind of “Let’s see who’s tougher” pissing contest. 

It was easy to see where that would eventually lead if I found myself trapped in a locker room full of those guys. I was never keen on getting a wedgie that would require surgical removal from my colon.

Now, had we lived in a world without tighty whities, it wouldn’t have been a danger.

I’ve stayed in every highway Comfort Inn from Green Bay to Tempe. My paper can no longer pay for me to stay at the pricier accommodations with the team. 

The snag is that the frou-frou establishments were more tolerant of my alternative lifestyle. The budget places tend to be run by Bible-toting fanatics, who seem unaware that before the Fall, Adam and Eve were walking around in the buff and God was completely chill about it.

Otherwise, being quartered apart from the team is not such a bad thing. It was a fidgety moment whenever I got caught in the same elevator with a guy I had lambasted in my Jets Jive feature for playing like crap in the last game, especially when that dude is north of three hundred pounds and I’m standing there with my soft parts blowing in the ventilated air.

One time I got cornered on the ride up to my room by a linebacker I had criticized in my paper. He made a low growl and said if we ever ran into each other again he would throw my bare ass into a printing press and mail my flattened body (folded down to envelope size) back to Naked City, wherever that is. I wish I knew.

I have to do a lot of interviews and the guy I talk to the most is the head coach. He likes to call me “Rockin’ Out.” Never my name. Fine. Most of his statements are quotable as is, which is helpful.

There’s a lot more polish I have to put on the quotes I get from the players. What you see in the paper is rarely what came out of the guy’s mouth. 

A lot of times what came out of the player’s mouth is some profanity-laden, ungrammatical gibberish that I’d had to put through a grade-school English primer and the washing machine.

If the player says, “Whether I sign for next year or go somewhere else, it’s iffy shit, ya’ know. Wherever I end up, at the end of the day, ya’ know, I gonna be strong and the shit gonna be on... Dawg, you naked,” what you read in print will become, by the magic of sports reportage, “I’m ambivalent about my future with the team, but whatever happens, I’ll be ready to play.”

Or, “Fuck off, nudist guy.” 

That’s a simple one: “Unavailable for comment.”

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